Which woman would not fall in love with a man who woos her so intensely and persistently? Neha Pendse was swept off her feet by Shardul Singh Bayas when he drove down every day for three months from town to the suburbs to meet her. The Free Press Journal caught up with the TV actress for an exclusive tête-à-tête. Excerpts:
When and how did you meet Shardul?
Shardul and I first met for work. He was launching a company and he wanted me as a brand ambassador. Film director Abhinay Deo initiated the meeting.
What was your initial reaction when you met him?
I had taken my manager to meet him and it was a very formal meeting. So, he left no impression.
What are the qualities that attracted you to him?
He’s extremely intelligent and I am a sucker for nerdy things. He is extremely well-read and well-travelled. His circle is very different from mine. And so, I was introduced to a very different world. He is strong-willed and career-oriented, an Alpha male and I get attracted to Alpha males.
Who took the initiative to fix a date?
The relationship was initiated by him and he took the initiative to fix the date. The first date, which I thought was a meeting, was at Wasabi, Taj. It was our third meeting and he expressed his desire to be in a relationship.
Did he get you flowers, chocolates?
Oh yeah, he did. He is big on everything, but I accepted expensive gifts from him only after marriage. When he sets his eye on anything, his approach is saam, daam, dand, bhed (four different ways of reaching your goal).
How often did you’ll meet each other?
He was living at Nariman Point and I was staying at Andheri. Acting pricey I told him, ‘I can’t come to town to meet you.’ So for three months, almost every day, he would drive down to Bandra/Juhu/ Andheri. We would have conversations about everything under the sun. And gradually my feelings for him crystallised.
Who said I love you first?
Who is more possessive between the two of you?
Who is the funnier one between the two?
Who is the cleanliness freak?
Who is short tempered?
Before marriage I thought I was short tempered, but actually he is the one with the shortest possible fuse. After we got married, I have progressed a lot as an individual. I have become patient, tolerant and understanding because he loses his cool at the drop of a hat.
Would you guys fight during your courtship days?
We never fought in our courtship days. In fact We don’t fight even after our marriage. Both he and I hate confrontations. When there is something wrong, I like to talk it out but he likes to run away. I am big on conversations. Even if he is wrong, I’m the one who ends up saying sorry.
Who proposed marriage?
He wanted me to accompany him on an international holiday because it was his birthday. We had started dating but I was not comfortable, so he invited me to the Taj and he took out a ring and popped the question, ‘Will you marry me? I can’t wait any longer!’ His straightforwardness was a big turn-on for me.
How has your relationship changed from the time you guys were girlfriend-boyfriend to now being husband and wife?
The tables have completely turned after we got married. Now, I am his friend, caretaker, elder go-to person. I pamper him like a big baby.
What are your common interests?
Actually, we don't have a lot of common interests, but I make his interest mine too. For instance, if he likes action films and I don’t, I’ll make it a point to enjoy it. When I’m with him, I make his interests my interest.
Love for me is…
Patience, forgiveness and acceptance. You have to accept the person with all his qualities, both good and bad.